Earth Day 2015

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Today is Earth Day! A wonderful day to celebrate this gorgeous planet we live on and to take a moment to see if there is more that we can do for it to preserve it’s beauty. London has been celebrating with it’s annual 12 Days of Cleaning. Have you been keeping up? If not, there’s no time like the present to jump in and clean up your act. Get the kids involved, make it a game!

12 DAYS OF CLEANING

Here are some of London Clean and Green’s ideas for what you should do to clean up your own small part of the world:

LCBO and Beer Store

Clear out all of your empties and return them to the Beer Store. You can return nearly everything that you get from either the LCBO or The Beer Store – beer, wine, liquor bottles, cans, and boxed wine (recycle the cardboard box, return the bag). There’s money in this for you!

Garage

Your garage is likely home to many special waste that requires care when disposing. See HERE for a list of materials that should not be placed at the curb with your usual waste and the locations at which you can dispose of them.

Renovation Materials

Have you done a reno? Big or small – whether there are empty paint cans or large amounts of debris, find out where to take them HERE.

Clothing Drive

This is the perfect time of year to clean out your closets! Clear out all of the warmer clothes in your closet that you’ve gone the whole winter without wearing, anything that does not fit, and anything that you just don’t like or need. Do the same thing in your children’s closets and your partners. Once collected, you can choose to drop it all off at the nearest GoodWill, a clothing drop-off bin, a consignment store, hold a garage sale, jump in on a mom to mom sale or pass them on to someone who could use them.

Medicine Cabinet

We recently posted about stocking your First Aid kit. If you have cleaned out your medicine cabinet or if it’s still on your list of things to do, be sure to return all of your old or expired medications to your nearest pharmacist to properly dispose of them. Do not throw them in the garbage!

Electronics

With new electronics coming out every day and not lasting remotely as long as they used to, many of us have old appliances, phones, TV’s, etc. collecting dust somewhere. Go HERE to find a place to recycle yours.

Yard Clean Up

Rake your lawn, pick those weeks, do a little pruning, and get everything into paper bags for your areas next green pickup.

Garbage and Recycling

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Taking out the garbage and recycling is probably not anyone’s favourite thing to do. With London’s six-day schedule, holidays, STAT days, and bonus days, it can be pretty hard to keep track of what goes out and when. Missing a garbage day can mean you are hanging onto that trash for almost two weeks! Watching your neighbours curb for hints may not be foolproof if they’re as confused as you are. And what about the items that could not/should not go into the garbage and aren’t eligible for your blue box? Or are they now eligible with the new blue box rules? Don’t worry. There’s an app for that. No, really, there is! In fact, there are a whole bunch of ways to stay on top of your garbage.

CALENDAR

The paper calendar is delivered at the end of each summer to your mailbox. You will receive the calendar for your zone. If you didn’t pay attention to what zone you are in or if you’ve lost your calendar (or need a new one after a move!), you can order another one online. Input your address in the link above and it will tell you in what zone you live.. If you’d like, you can also use the link to request a new paper calendar be mailed to you. The calendar doesn’t just tell you when your garbage and recycling will be picked up, it also has lots of great numbers and addresses, links for resources, and information about what to take where. You can also print your own schedule from here: ZONE A ZONE B ZONE C ZONE D ZONE E ZONE F

EMAIL REMINDERS

There are two ways of getting email reminders and I must say, they are genius. No more digging around for your calendar, you’ll just get an email direct to your inbox (or all of your inboxes!) the day before garbage day, reminding you to collect it and put it out. Sign up at When is Garbage Day and schedule when you would like the email reminder to come to you or London Trash for an email reminder or a text.

THE APP

OK, so now that you know when your garbage day is, you might still have questions. Download the My Waste app through iTunes or Google. You will be able to access your waste collection calendar, all of the information about London’s programs including Christmas tree collection, yard materials collection (what and how it is collected), composting, grasscycling, and a great section called What Goes Where where you can type in any household item and it will tell you where to put it – like your old blender, the mountain of old AA batteries or the crystal vase your kid knocked over. You can also set it up to send you reminders and emails 12 hours in advance of garbage/recycling collection, yard waste collection, London Cares Curbside food drive, and those lovely 4 container exemption pick-up days.

If you’re still missing garbage day after all of that, I can’t help you ;) I will remind you that yard material collection has begun for certain zones and that the first week in May is the 4-bag exemption pick up. Time to spring clean!

 

Recycling K-Cups

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If you saw the way I stumble over to my Keurig every morning you probably wouldn’t believe that it took three children before I actually started drinking coffee. I bought a Keurig for my Timmie’s-addict husband to save money and instead I got hooked. I’m not the only one, the single-serve coffee machines are insanely popular for the ease and variety of brews. ‘One cup at a time’ was a brilliant idea! However, with the love of flavoured coffee comes an incredible amount of waste that is receiving a big backlash. #KilltheKCup is an actual movement, criticizing the little pods for being unrecyclable and creating so much waste. If the thought of getting rid of your Keurig makes you hyperventilate (and I would not judge you if it did), then consider some of these ideas to reduce your waste:

  1. COMPOST: when you’re done with your k-cups, peel back that foil and dump the grinds into any tupperware-type container with a tight-fitting lid. When the container is full, dump it in your garden or your neighbours garden or on your lawn or under a tree. Coffee grinds make a great mulch and compost very well. If you can, collect a bunch of k-cups and let them dry out for a day to make dumping them easier.
  2. GARDEN STARTERS: spring is just around the corner (hopefully) and those who garden will soon be starting their seeds inside. Whether you’ve got a large kitchen garden or just a flower pot, gardening is a great activity to do with kids. Save a weeks worth of k-cups, clean them out, fill them with some potting soil, drop in your seeds and set them on a windowsill. The little pods already have a hole punched in the bottom for drainage and they are just the right size!
  3. K-CUP POPSICLES: Some bloggers recommend blocking the hole at the bottom with a spot of hot glue, others say foil or tape will do the job. Either way, mix up your favourite juice, creamsicle or even mocha popsicle blends and freeze them with a stick (save, wash and reuse your sticks!) in the centre. Perfect for little kids who never actually finish the big popsicles!
  4. ST PATRICK’S DAY CRAFT: St Patrick’s Day is only a couple of weeks away and if you are the kind of mom who likes to break out the themed crafts for every possible holiday, then this will be right up your alley! With a little bit of cardstock and some glue, you can turn a k-cup into a leprechaun’s little hat.
  5. FINE MOTOR SKILLS: You know how OT’s are always recommending ‘lacing’ as a task to develop your child’s fine motor skills? Forget the giant beads and the lacing games, just grab a new shoe lace, a bunch of cleaned out k-cups, and hand them over to your toddler or preschooler. The whole in the bottom is already there, just lace through for a giant k-cup chain. Older children can turn this into a craft or if you have a whole lot of k-cups saved up, thread them all and decorate your Christmas tree!
  6. SORTING: This is another one that can be for your children. Hand your child a bag of coins and have them sort the coins into k-cups. Sort coloured paperclips, different beans, coloured marshmallows, buttons or any other groups of small items.
  7. SCOOPS: Toss clean k-cups in the bathtub, the sandbox, in a large bin of beans or rice, the water table, and any other place your child has something to scoop and dump. The hole in the bottom just adds to the fun!
  8. CHILD’S PLAY: Kids are nothing if they’re not imaginative. Clean out a months worth of k-cups and give them to your children, the end. Stacking blocks, pyramids, bowling, cup games… they will come up with some ways to breathe life back into these little wonder cups.
  9. REUSE THEM: Dump out the coffee, rinse, dry, and refill with your favourite ground coffee (bought for significantly cheaper than a k-cup!). Recreate the lid with tinfoil and you’re all set!
  10. STOP USING THEM: Oh, stab in the heart, right? But in reality, there are other options for single-serve coffee that don’t involve so much waste. The Keurig does have a My K-Cup option and you can also buy reusable versions that can be found in the coffee aisle of the grocery store or at Walmart, HomeSense, Winners, etc. Many coffee companies now sell flavoured, ground coffee in bags at the grocery store so you don’t have to go back to boring coffee! If the extra step of filling your own pod is just too much, at least consider switching to a coffee brand that has the pod-less, Keurig-compatible options with just the lid and the teabag-style bag of coffee attached.

Christmas Tree Recycling

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If you haven’t already cleaned your house of all traces of the holidays, then now might just be the time to start the purge. To those of you who took the environmentally responsible choice and bought a real tree instead of an artificial tree, please continue to keep your holiday green by recycling your tree at one of the City of London’s Christmas Tree Recycling Depot’s.

From today until Friday, January 9, you can take your tree to any one of the following recycling depot’s:

South -  Amway (Exeter Road, by White Oak Road – west end of parking lot)

South -  Mitches Park (Upper Queens Avenue parking lot)

Central -  St. Julien Works Yard (south end of St. Julien Street)

East -  Stronach Park (Beckworth Avenue parking lot)

West -  Springbank Park (west entrance parking lot by Boler Road)

North -  Adelaide Works Yard (Adelaide St North at Kipps Lane)

(* Please note that Masonville Place, near Nash Jewellers, is no longer a depot)

Be sure to remove all ribbons, tinsel, and decorations. Take any rope/string or plastic used to transport your tree home with you when you leave.

Alternative ways to dispose of your tree are:

- leave your tree in your backyard until the first yard material collection of the spring

- take your tree to a Community EnviroDepot (see HERE for hours and locations)

- place your tree out with your regular trash for collection **if you choose this option, your tree will not be recycled!!

London Recycles

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If you didn’t take a moment to read your new collection calendar this fall, you may have missed the new additions. London has added the following items to your regular Blue Box pick up:

RIGID PLASTIC

* this includes all of that annoying plastic around toys,light bulbs, and batteries. Just separate it from the cardboard (recycle that separately in your Paper Products bin) and add it to the Containers Blue Box. Christmas and birthdays just got a lot greener!

PAPER CUPS

* if you didn’t have the foresight to bring a reusable coffee cup to Tim’s or Starbuck’s, at least now you can recycle the cup. Take the sleeve off if there is one and put that in the Paper bin, then take off the lid of the cup before putting both in the Containers bin. Toss the straws, stir sticks, etc. in the garbage not the recycling bin!

ICE CREAM TUBS

* ice cream tubs, boxes and cartons can all be recycled. Make sure you rinse it out first so that it doesn’t get your Blue Box all dirty when the last bits melt away.

 

DID YOU KNOW…

You can also recycle juice boxes, milk and juice cartons, and cardboard cans (frozen juice, coffee, bread crumbs, hot chocolate, etc.)  in your Container bin as well!

If you don’t have a home compost to add your Halloween pumpkins to, they will be picked up at the curb with your Yard Material Collection. There are a few more pick up weeks this year – check your calendar to find out when your week is and roll them down off your porch. Take the candles out first!

 

LEAVE THESE OUT!

Remember that kids toys, styrofoam containers and coffee cups, plastic bags, and wrapping paper CANNOT be recycled. The city spends thousands of dollars every year sorting out non-recyclables from the recyclables. Make sure your bins are sorted properly and aren’t loaded with trash.